Friday, January 08, 2016

Crazy First Week...

And so, when I finally got to my room after all the drama and thought I could get some rest, Stacey was wheeled into my room at about 3am. Of course, after being apart from her for a few hours after carrying her for 39 weeks, there was a little separation anxiety and I wanted to see her asap. The nurse told me to try breastfeeding and this is when all the crazy shit started.
I tried latching and feeding my girl once I saw hungry cues. But she was either too sleepy and didn't latched properly, or too frustrated at sucking nothing that she cried the roof down. Then we had to spend time to coax and calm her down to try again. The clocked ticked by and soon she missed 1 feed, and another feed, and another. It didn't occur to me at that point of time to send baby back to nursery so she could have her stomach filled.
I called the lady who was supposed to be my confinement nanny. She had fallen ill with flu and cough due to the haze and couldn't come earlier as my EDD was to be 21 Sep. After discussion with the hubs and parents later in the day, we decided to call off her services and hunt for another one through the agency my sister had engaged one from.
Through this first day I was trying to catch a quick nap here and there. However, it was almost impossible. Every 30-45 minutes since I was pushed to the ward, someone will enter, be it the nurse to take my blood pressure again and again in the morning (turns out to be ok and that delivery suite staff have been taking my blood pressure when I'm lying in a "wrong" position), or a tealady, or someone to take my meals order or deliver food, or the house doctor doing his/her rounds, or nurses coming in to "announce" that they are changing shifts and who are taking over, or nurses sending in medication, or me needing the loo, etc. And on occasions when I can finally fall asleep, I find myself waking up because I feel as though I'm dropping to the ground. Hubs said I'm overly tired hence I'm unable to fall asleep.
In the evening, we made the call to extend 1 more night as we are just too damn tired. 
Also, the gals and their hubs & kids dropped by. Ranted to them about what happened. And since it was time to feed Stacey, the gals stayed to help while the hubs stayed behind the curtains. Again, Stacey cried the roof down as she was too hungry and frustrated and sucking at nothing. Stacey was coaxed and calmed down and curtains were drawn. One couple suggested to send Stacey to the nursery in the night so we could have a good night's rest. Afterall, I need rest and Stacey needs milk after not drinking the whole day. After they left, the hubs and I weighed out the pros and cons and we decided to send Stacey to the nursery.
And so I thought I would have a good night's rest... Didn't happen. I probably had a quick naps when I got woken up a few times through the night. 
The hubs who snores, snored the roof down because his head wasn't well supported. The aircon temperature was turned up too high as it was too cold earlier and the lights were just too bright. I woke the hubs up to help adjust the aircon and lighting as I still couldn't get out of bed unassisted due to the pain and discomfort. And of cos, got him to use a thicker pillow so he could snore softer. Well, I always sleep through his snores, just that this time around, the snores were the loudest ever in our (at that point) close to 11 years together and that I wasn't in comfortable conditions enough for me to fall asleep.
And then, a nurse (not too sure if it was the same person) entered the room twice to take blood pressure readings in the middle of the night.

2nd day was slightly better although I was still damn blardi tired. Thankfully I managed to catch some quick naps during the day.

Got a response from the agency on my last minute request for a confinement lady. The soonest they could  arrange for a confinement lady to arrive was 1 week later. Beggars can't be choosers, so mum took a week's leave to help out for the time being.

Stacey had her jabs to take on this day, so was expected to come into the room late. Again, being apart from her for quite some time, I was so anxious to see my little girl. But what I didn't expect was a already crying hungry and frustrated baby coming into the room. Knowing that my milk supply hasn't kicked in yet, before Stacey could even reach my bedside, I made a heart wrenching decision and told the nurse to send back to nursery for feed.
The hubs went downstairs to get coffee when this happened. And I ranted to him when he came back. I was damn upset that they sent me a crying hungry Stacey expecting me to feed. I'm not a blardi cow and my milk supply hasn't kicked in yet. If Stacey sucks at nothing, she would be even more frustrated. 

When Stacey came back, she was already asleep. Thus the whole reading hunger cues and trying to breastfeed saga continues, and this was another shit waiting to hit the fan. Stacey latched, sucked, cried like mad cos she was sucking at nothing. After going through this on the first day, Hubs and I already discussed and decided that though latching helps supply kick in, we don't want her to go hungry. So when she doesn't get to drink anything, we will send her back to nursery for feed on the 2nd day. So as decided, after a few attempts, we pressed the call button to get someone to bring her to the nursery for feed.
But, the nurses had different ideas. They were so pro-breastfeeding that they forgot about the mother's well being. I'm a first time mum, but I'm not totally clueless. Whoever that came into the room would ask if I have massaged my breasts, if I would want to try again and if they could help me with it, etc. even when I told them that I don't have any supply and that she is hungry. I felt that they did not believe that I had attempted and wanted to take shortcuts and just give formula. They seemed reluctant to bring Stacey back for feed. I had to reason with them and this ding-dong prolonged the feed interval. 

At night, she was sent to the nursery again as me and hubs really needed more rest. As I got woken up in the middle of the night before for blood pressure reading and there wasn't any through daytime on the 2nd day, the hubs checked with the nurse if any readings will be taken at night. And as expected, yes, at 2am and 5am. So hubs made a request with the nurse to take my blood pressure at 1am and 7am instead so we have a long enough period of quality sleep. The nurse agreed and I did manage to some quality sleep.

3rd day morning, milk supply hasn't kicked in yet and it was time to check out. Both Stacey and I changed and Stacey was given one last feed otherwise she would be screaming in the car on the way home. We were told to go to the polyclinic for Stacey's jaundice review the next day. Meanwhile, I was told to go back 6 weeks later for gynae appointment. Hubs and I requested for an appointment 2 weeks later, at least to check on the stitches.
When we reached home, attempt to breastfeed felt less stressful. It was latch, no milk, cry, formula given to supplement. But we also realised that whenever she was drinking, she was sucking hard and hurriedly on her teat, as though she was afraid that someone will take her milk away from her. As she drank, we kept talking and reassuring her that no one will take her milk away from her and that she will have her fill.
4th day morning, we went to the polyclinic for Stacey's check up and jaundice review. As she was a newborn, we could "jump" queue and it wasn't as slow and draggy as expected, but still slow. Her count was 220 and the doc said it wasn't high enough for phototherapy, but it was borderline high. We were to go back on the following Monday when Stacey is 6 days old for another review.
When we got home, hubs and I quickly discussed if we would want to continue at the polyclinic on Monday. We thought about what if the levels are still high and she needed phototherapy, then we have to travel down to KKH, ding-dong here and there, a lot of time wasted. However, if we were to go to a PD, it would be much faster. So we decided to go to the PD my sister is bringing my nephew to. But I was a few minutes too slow, when I called to make an appointment, the clinic was closed for the day. So we decided to make the call Monday morning.
Meanwhile, we also decided to drop latching as the main concern was to keep Stacey hydrated, and so I tried pumping. Nothing came out...
For the first time that night, Stacey didn't cry the roof down when she was hungry. She cried still, but it wasn't a desperate kinda heart wrenching cry. When she cried previously, it was as though she was starving, desperate for milk, but nobody is giving her milk. This time around, it was just a cry to alert us that she is hungry.
Hubs and I then deduce that the poor gal was starving at the nursery, crying hard for attention for the nurses to feed her. No wonder, she was sucking furiously on her teat previously... We kinda regretted not being very firm with the nurses and insisted on sending her to the nursery immediately and allowed the dilly-dallying to take place. Her not being hydrated could highly be partially the reason to her borderline high jaundice levels.
On the 5th day morning, we tried to sun Stacey a little and still keep hydrating her. Meanwhile, I pathetically managed to hand express 5ml of milk in total for both boobs that night. Woohoo, supply has kicked in!
Made a call to the PD's on the 6th day morning, which was Monday. Quickly made an appointment and we rushed down to the PD's at Mt. E Novena. At the PD's, Stacey was given a quick check up and we went downstairs for blood test. We grabbed a quick lunch at Starbucks while waiting for the blood test. Clinic called when the test results were ready and we went back up.
Looking at Stacey's eyes and skin colour, I already kinda knew she might have high jaundice. And true enough, her count was 253 and we decided to admit her in for phototherapy upon PD's recommendation. All this while, my mum was carrying Stacey as my down-there was still hurting like a bitch and I needed to carry my swimming ring around to facilitate my sitting down. While waiting for the clinic to make the necessary arrangements, I took over Stacey from my mum and cradled her.
Tears just flowed... I was mentally and physically prepared, but not emotionally. Stacey will be taken away from me again and for the first time, she will be sleeping away from home, away from her cot. While cradling her, I talked to her again and reassured her that it was for her own good and that mama will miss her.
We then went over to the hospital side to make the necessary check in arrangements, and in Stacey went into the nursery, untagged... I had to control myself from freaking out at that point. My Stacey went in untagged, so would there be a mistaken identity and would my Stacey come back to me? A nurse walked past and was about to enter the nursery and we told her what happened. She reassured us, told us not to worry and that all babies in the nursery are tagged expect for ours, so there won't be any mistaken identities. Soon after, the nurse who took Stacey in brought her out again and started to do the tagging in front of us. She also briefed us on what to do should we want to visit later and got necessary information from us.
Reached home and rested. The hubs and parents in law went over to the hospital later in the evening to visit her, but I stayed home due to the pain and discomfort. Hubs came back and reassured me that she was in good hands. But the house felt empty and different somehow. Stacey wasn't around and I couldn't hear her cries. I couldn't stop missing her. I hugged her blanket and cried myself to sleep.
Amazingly, that was the first night in 6 days I felt rested. First time in 6 days I woke up feeling refreshed. Told hubs that maybe God sent her away for a night so we could have a good night's rest to refresh and energise ourselves.
The next morning, the hospital called, told us that Stacey's jaundice levels have fell and she could be discharged. And of course, we rushed to go down to pick her up. I would have loved to carry her the moment she came out from the nursery, but like the previous day, down-there was still hurting like a bitch. So my mum helped.
I could tell my darling girl was feeling better. Her eyes were no longer yellow, skin was no longer dull and dark, she was more alert and less sleepy.
At this point, my yield was still low and couldn't meet her daily needs. So I was pumping and supplementing with formula as we needed to monitor how much she is drinking as well.
With all on a positive note, we thought it would be smoother sailing... But we were so wrong...

Monday, January 04, 2016

Stacey Wong Has Arrived

The last 3+ months have gone by so quickly, the first couple of weeks chaotically, and this was how it started...
In the wee hours of 2-odd am, close to 3am on 15 Sep, I got up after having about 1.5 hours of sleep because I had a lot of gas, refluxing a little and needed a good burp to release it. After feeling much better, I got up to go to the toilet. It was at that very moment it felt as though a water balloon burst between my legs.
The hubs had just crawled onto bed then and barely closed his eyes. So I quickly rushed to the toilet and checked while shouting, "Dear, I think my water bag broke". We quickly changed and he called for a cab. Reached KKH at about 3.30am. No contractions still, but apparently I'm already 1cm dilated. By 4.15am, I was pushed into the delivery suite and the waiting game started. IV drip was poked into my hand and first contraction was felt slightly after 5am.
Like all births, the contractions got a little more painful, a little more intense and frequency became closer, but this stretched across a very long while for me. My gynae came by after 9am to check on me, dilation barely increased. So, he ordered for induction to begin. I chose to have epidural as I know my threshold of pain is freaking low. Epidural was first administered then followed by the drug for induction. By then, it was already 11-odd am, and the waiting continues.
Epidural kicked in fast, and pain was bearable. However, the block was a little too much for me to take. I was also throwing up air and whatever little liquids my stomach has, and was freaking breathless and drowsy. We called to lower the dosage a little and ended up ding-donging with the midwife and house anaesthetist for the next 1-odd hour. They kept insisting that anti-nausea drug will help with the nausea and that it is normal (we freaking know), but offered no solution for the breathlessness and drowsiness. After our much insistence, the house anaesthetist finally lowered the dosage from 10ml to 8ml and administered the anti-nausea drug. I felt a little better thereafter and was able to breathe normally. The real anaesthetist who jabbed my back came by close to 1pm and assessed the situation. She gave a better review of the situation and made the call to lower the dosage even further to 5ml. She also mentioned that if I'm still not feeling better, we would have a choice to remove a certain content in epidural but it may affect the overall efficacy of epidural. We didn't eventually because I felt way way much even better after the 2nd reduction.
The hubs who by now had not slept for more than 24 hours, is trying to take his forty winks on the couch beside me.  I was also trying to catch some sleep, but it was hard to doze off into deep or even proper sleep. Perhaps it was excitement as I can't wait to see my baby after having her for 39 weeks in my womb. Perhaps it was cold IV drip and my hand was hurting from the lousy poking skills. Perhaps it was the frequent beeping of the IV drip machines. Perhaps it was just me listening out to the monitor, listening out for baby's heartbeat as I've heard once water bag breaks, there's a risk of infection to the baby. Gynae came by again in the afternoon. He told the hubs that if I still do not dilate enough, he will make the call for a c-sect as water bag already broke.
The clock ticked by and the waiting game continues... House doctors came by and checked on the dilation every now and then. It was finally at slightly past 7pm when one of the house doctor finally made the call and said, "can start pushing already lah".
Part of me felt delighted and relieved upon hearing that. Finally the waiting is over and the real labour starts, and also because I do not need to get cut open. Another part of me felt really excited because I can finally get to see, hold, touch and kiss my little girl.
So the pushing began close to 8pm and gynae was called back to the hospital. The hubs said with every push, he could see a little of her head. I asked hubs and midwives if baby got hair, haha... And they told me yes. Honestly, the pushing is really exhausting. I don't know if it is because of being awake for 17 hours after a 1.5 hours "nap", or the actual pushing is tiring me out. I actually asked one of the midwives when I can consider assisted delivery using forceps or vacuum because I was really damn shag already.
Gynae arrived, took over from one of the midwives and stood on my side. I don't recall this part, but hubs said gynae got his ok that he is going to make a 2 inch cut. All I could remember was that gynae told me to take a deep breath in and puff out hard through my mouth (I guess that was when he made the cut) and I could feel my little girl coming out of me. Stacey has arrived at 9pm sharp.
I immediately asked the midwife to pass me my little girl so I can carry her. I was so excited n anxious! Midwife agreed and said to give her a minute so she can clean the baby a little. The next minute seemed like eternity... The feeling when I finally held her in my arms was indescribable. I kept kissing her while my tears were dropping non stop and told her that mama loves her, all this while my gynae was stitching me up. Then, Stacey was tagged and taken from my arms for weighing and vital signs checks. Hubs was following the midwife around the room while this happened.
Thereafter, Stacey was brought to the nursery at about 10-ish for bath while I was to remain in the delivery suite first. Midwife asked if I needed painkillers but epidural hasn't worn off yet, so I rejected her offer. If I had known what is gonna happen next, I would not have rejected.
Minutes ticked by like eternity. Finally at 11pm, the house doctor came by but refused to release me to my room apparently because my blood pressure is still too high. The house doctor told my hubs that she will come by 1 hour later. We did a quick mental guesstimation, I should be able to tahan and get to my room for epicool, milo and painkillers.
12.15am and the house doctor still hasn't came by. I'm exhausted, missing my daughter and want to have proper sleep. 12.30am, stilll not yet... I was starting to lose my patience and my cool. Hubs checked with the staff nurse on duty. It was not a case of my room not being ready and the house doctor has been alerted.
1am, at 1-freaking-am, the house doctor finally decided to show up. And by now, my hand with the drip was freaking numb and has swollen to double its size till I thought I saw someone else's hand. Still refused to release me to my room because my blood pressure is still high. But of course, because my blood is boiling and the pain is starting to kick in! We then requested to remove the drip since they are no longer administering anything through it, the house doctor refused saying that it is necessary in case they need the drip again.
Once the house doctor left, I couldn't take it anymore. I told hubs screaming, "of course my blood pressure still high! I'm in pain, haven't slept and ate for 21 hours, exhausted, missing my girl, angry say want to come in 1 hour tu till 2 hours, of course high lah". Hubs pressed the call button and staff nurse came in rather quickly. I immediately broke down, complained about the wait, said that we were not given enough information to make an informed decision because I'm in pain now, told her I want to be with my daughter, if I'm in my room now I would have epicool and won't be suffering now because I can rest, and reasoned why my blood pressure is still high. I don't know if she was taken aback and what exactly happened next was a blur because I was so damn freaking pissed and exhausted. All I recalled, she did a double take on my blood pressure, got help and said to trolley me to my room, make a note to get ward to monitor my blood pressure and took off the damn drip from my swolllen hand.
I finally calmed down when i was being wheeled to my room at 2-blardi am, 5 freaking hours after I delivered Stacey. Once I reached my room, I was given milo. Nurse also help fixed the urine catheter to help drain my bladder, cleaned me up down-there, gave me the wonderful epicool and arranged for painkillers. Tealady also came by to give water and cups. When all these ended close to 3am, I thought I can finally manage to catch some sleep. But no, Stacey was wheeled into my room a few minutes later at 3am and more crazy shit continues...